Thursday, September 4, 2014
Caitlyn Brooks, Lexi Crawford and Alea Gurley tour Delta State Univ.
Happy birthday wishes go out to Grace Brownlee, who celebrated August 24, and Dunn Boatwright, who celebrated over the weekend. Here’s to many, many more!
Last week, I took Caitlyn, Lexi Crawford and Alea Gurley to tour Delta State University in Cleveland. It was beyond a fantastic experience.
When we got there, we went to the admissions office and were greeted by smiling faces. We met up with Diana, who was the recruiter showing us around that day. Let the fun begin!
We toured every aspect of the campus and learned things we had not known. They have the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Some performances which appear at the Orpheum in Memphis, Tenn. appear there, also. Students receive discount rates to attend the shows.
The music department on the campus of Delta State is flourishing. There are plans in the works for a Grammy museum to be built there.
The wonderful people of Delta State made all of us feel so welcome. How exciting to know that all of our senior children will soon be spreading their wings and leaving the nest!
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Edwards, Johnson wedding Sept. 6 at Anderson Chapel
Rosalyn Edwards and Minister Michael Johnson will wed September 6, 2014.
The bride-elect is the daughter of Esther Edwards of Holly Springs and the late Johnnie Edwards.
The prospective groom is the son of Virgie Johnson of Holly Springs and the late Willie “Bo” Bell.
The couple will exchange vows at 4 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Anderson Chapel CME Church. A reception will immediately follow at the Multi-Purpose Building.
All family and friends are cordially invited.
Mississippi governor buried near Snow Lake
By BOBBY MITCHELL
The Marshall County Historical Museum is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday by advance notice. Call 662-252-3669 for arrangements. For more information about the museum, visit and “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mchistoricalmuseum.
Visit our website for programs; become a member or make a donation on PayPal: marshallcountymuseum.com.
When I was young, soon after WW II ended, our rural route carrier (Rt. 2 out of Holly Springs) was Charlie Warren. Mr. Warren used a jeep for his mail vehicle, one that had the old war style canvas cab on it.
In the summers he would take the doors off to get a bit more air circulating through it. But with no doors, when it rained the water would blow into the cab before he might have time to stop and put the doors on. If he was near our house he would turn into our drive and rush into one of the farm sheds to park until the rain quit.
When I saw him wheel into the shed I would run out to talk to him. It was from him that I first heard, probably more 65 years ago, that one of Mississippi’s governors was buried in a clump of trees near where his route ran, northwest of what is now Snow Lake, and near Hoover Road.
He would take time to answer all my kid questions, told me the governor was Joseph Matthews, where the cemetery was, that he was the only governor to be elected from Marshall County, etc.
I stored the information mentally but never went there to see it until my brother and I decided to go up one day and see what it looked like. He had some farming interests nearby the cemetery, so about 1980 or 1981, we made our first of many trips there.
I copied the name and dates and inscription on the tombstone, not questioning any of its veracity. On the tall impressive monument is this information: “Joseph W. Matthews, Born near Huntsville, Ala. 1812, Died at Palmetto, Ga. Aug. 27, 1862.” On a side panel is more information, “Erected in 1917 to the memory of this man by the descendants of his friends and neighbors….”
Mississippi’s Centennial was in 1917, and I happened to have a copy of the Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi (what we commonly call the Blue Book) Centennial Edition. In this volume one finds biographies of all our governors up to that time, and voluminous amounts of information for our first 100 years. After my brother Donny and I had gone to the cemetery and copied the information, sometime later I got out the Centennial Volume and it also had this information: “Joseph W. Matthews was born in 1812 near Huntsville, Ala. During his early manhood he came to Mississippi as a government surveyor…. he located in Marshall County, near the extinct town of Salem.” This plus the rest of his biography in the official state records still show the same information today.
So now we have the marker set in 1917 with corresponding information in the official state biography of Governor Matthews, also in 1917, so what could go wrong?
My first thought was Huntsville, Madison County, Ala., is a contemporary location, but in 1812 Huntsville was part of the Mississippi Territory (M.T. in old records).
I had an ancestor, Littleberry Lesueur, who lived in Madison County at that same time, who was in the War of 1812, called up to fight the Creek Indians and his service records show him as a member of Burrus 16th Mississippi Militia, Mississippi Territory troops. Both families did continue to live in Madison County M.T. and in 1819 Alabama did become a state.
In Mississippi, Governor Matthews only lived a few households distant in Marshall County from my relatives, again the Lesueurs, and in looking at the 1850 census record of the Lesueurs I saw his name, with an age of 43, and that he was born in S.C. Quick computation showed that this age would have placed his birth in 1807. After seeing that, later I decided to check the 1860 U.S. census for Marshall County, and found that he was shown as 52 years old and a native of N.C., meaning a birth year of perhaps 1807 or 1808. The 1840 U.S. census does not give the age of those enumerated, but it does give a range of years for one’s age. This range again would have put Matthews born at some time before 1810, in keeping with the other census data. None of the information matched any of the official biographical information for Joseph Matthews.
His first marriage was recorded in Hardeman County, Tenn., to Sarah Hatley, on January 1, 1829. He would scarcely have been even 16 if the official version of his biography is correct.
A couple of years ago a friend, Sara Hamer Chumney, now of Memphis, Tenn., but a native of Benton County, and a descendant of Joseph Matthews, donated a book to the Marshall County Genealogy Society Library, the partial title of which is, “A Matthews History: The Family of Thomas Matthews (ca. 1631) of Hall Comb,” by Terry Cowan and Harry Shetrone, published in 2002.
This massive tome of more than 750 pages, well researched and documented has Joseph Warren Matthews born August 3, 1807, in Laurens County, S.C.
It appears that some of the same Matthews clan did arrive in the Mississippi Territory several years before 1812, but that Joseph Warren Matthews’ family did not come to that area until about 1811 or 1812. There are other Joseph Matthewses who are uncles or nephews of Governor Matthews, and this may have caused some confusion among early researchers.
The Bicentennial of Mississippi Statehood is nearly upon us, 2017, and I plan to submit this information to the Department of Archives and History to try to get the record as historically accurate as possible in the Official and Statistical Resister which well be printed for the Bicentennial.
Perhaps Benton County will take the initiative to place a MDAH historical marker for Governor Matthews at some appropriate location in Benton County.
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